Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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January 31, 2013

Texting while driving a real danger

Legislators and locals scrutinizing texting behind the wheel

By CHRIS AGEE

As cell phone use has become ubiquitous among Americans, concern over how distracting the handheld devices are to drivers has grown.

According to one study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, more than half of all high school seniors admitted texting or sending emails while driving during the previous month.

While there are state laws limiting certain drivers from using handheld cell phones and certain municipal ordinances enforce further restrictions, some legislators feel the issue deserves more extensive regulation.

District 82 Congressman Tom Craddick, R-Midland, commented prior to the beginning of the current legislative session concerning his proposed texting bill.

"It is time for Texans to join the other 39 states and the District of Columbia to ban this dangerous behavior for all drivers," he said. "The Texas Legislature has a responsibility to give our law enforcement the tools they need to make our roadways safer."

A number of local drivers support additional laws, noting the inherent danger distracted drivers pose to the public.

Dara Carver said she supports legislation making texting while driving illegal.

"I think it needs to be a law," she said, explaining the problem exists everywhere but is more concentrated in urban centers.

"If you go to the city, everybody's texting while driving," she said.

Though hands-free devices may reduce the risk of driver distraction, Carver said she prefers to play it safe while driving.

"I don't even get on it," she said.

Many drivers admitted to being tempted, though everyone seemed to realize texting while behind the wheel is dangerous.

"I try not to," Steven Jones said. "There are a lot of crashes."

He said if the need to use his cell phone arises while he's in the driver's seat, he makes sure to wait until it is safe to do so.

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